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What difference does it make to a tenant if they have rented from a Letting Agent who isn't a member of Govt Approved Redress Scheme (e.g. Property Ombudsman)?
Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought it was now a legal requirement for all LA to belong to a redress scheme!?
If they aren't a member of any scheme, what other illegal things might they be doing!?
Yes - it is illegal, but does this have any ramifications? If a LL doesn't protect a deposit they can't serve a S21. I wondered what the penalty for an agent ignoring the law might be.
As far as I am aware even if the LA doesn't protect the deposit the LL is the one who is liable for everything.
I believe that the LL would be liable for not protecting the deposit as ultimately it is the LL that bears responsibility for ensuring it is protected.
If the LA fails to carry out the contractual obligations as agreed with the LL then the LL has to sue the LA for breach of contract.
It is not the tenant's fault if the LA the LL has chosen to use fails to carry out his contractual obligations.
The law is clear the LL is responsible for the deposit.
Which is why I would NEVER allow a LA to control rent of the deposit
I doubt many LA would want me as a client if I did not allow them to control rent and deposits.
That is fine by me as I then save myself a fortune NOT using LA!!
Also when an agent is registered with the Ombudsman is the tenant obliged to take a complaint to the Ombudsman prior to legal (or other) action?
It is mandatory for all lettings agents to be registered with an approved independent redress scheme of which there are three - the Property Ombudsman, the Property Redress Scheme, and Ombudsman Services (property).The council can issue a fixed penalty fine of up to £5000 to a letting agency branch that is not a member of a scheme. Letting agents with multiple branches could face multiple fines.A disgruntled tenant or landlord must first follow the complaints procedure of the agent, before going to the ombudsman.Issues tenants can complain about to a letting agent redress scheme include:
Vanessa Warwick Landlord and Co-Founder of PropertyTribes.com **If you have got value from Property Tribes, find out how you can support it in remaining a free to use community resource**
What I am up against is the point that David makes below - if the Ombudsman finds in favour of the tenant - it does the tenant no good whatsoever, and they still can't get their money, so there is no point in going through the exercise.
Tenants cannot directly enforce against agents who do not belong to a redress scheme under the redress scheme legislation.It is up to the local authority and their enforcement is generally fairly patchy, while the fine levels are not hugely persuasive. A tenant or landlord may be able to pursue an agent for damages under the Consumer Protection From Unfair Trading Regulations which were revised to include an ability to make civil claims and include provisions against sharp practice and practices that are outside industry norms.So if you lost your ability to go to a redress scheme because the agent was not a member a claim under the CPRs might be a appropriate solution.